Imagine being married to someone for 64 years...at that point, you imagine that you know each other inside and out. That's what Audrey thought as she mourned the loss of her life partner.
It wasn't until the day she found handwritten documents in a drawer after his passing that she discovered that he had been living a double life the entire time and she had no idea who he actually was...
Love At First Sight
When Audrey Phillips met Glyndwr at a bar, it was love at first sight. The couple fell in love fast and got married just a couple of months after meeting. Audrey was attracted to Glyndwr's mysterious air, having no idea just how much he was hiding.
Soon after, Audrey began to feel sharp pain in her abdomen. A trip to the doctor's office revealed that the happy couple was expecting a baby. Just like any other happy family, the couple was on the right track to starting their lives. Except, this was no ordinary family...
Glyndwr Would Go On Mysterious Trips
Audrey was a happy wife and mother and she thought Glyndwr was a great father and husband. She believed that her husband worked as a civil engineer and didn't have a second job so she couldn't help but wonder where he kept disappearing.
Glyndwr would often go on mysterious trips and not disclose his location. Still, he was never gone for long so Audrey didn't think much of it. She says: "I never noticed any time that he was away for a long period, as he used to work away from home quite a lot."
A Sudden Need To Move
Although Audrey never questioned her husband's whereabouts and respected his privacy butshe couldn't help but have a lot of questions when he came home one night demanding that they move in a week's time. Audrey liked where she lived and she wanted to raise her children there.
No matter how much she tried to understand, Glyndwr wouldn't share any details with her. In fact, he seemed agitated and was acting strange. It seemed like there was just no room for negotiation.
Life Never Goes As Planned
In the midst of figuring out when and where to move, Audrey realized that she was pregnant again. Except for this time her pregnancy was high risk, meaning that she would be unable to travel. The family had to change their plans and stay put despite the father's wishes.
It seemed like although Glyndwr wasn't happy about the turn of events, he was coming around. After all, he wanted his supportive network around to help them raise their second child.
Everything Seemed To Go Back To Normal....For 50 Years
This was the moment that the mysterious trips gradually lessened and Glyndwr refocused his attention on his family. The family enjoyed their house and the neighborhood where they formed a life together and raised their children.
The family lived a happy life for 50 years until Glyndwr began to have trouble walking and his hands began to shake. The doctors diagnosed him with Parkinson's Disease in his old age. He ended up passing away. No one yet knew how many secrets he had taken to his grave...
Secrets Emerged Quickly
With Glyndwr passing away, he likely thought that he had taken all of his secrets with him. He seemingly lived the life of a loving husband and father. Yet Audrey couldn't shake the feeling that Glyndwr was hiding something throughout their entire marriage.
As she started clearing his belongings and his paperwork, she found the particular drawing where he seemed to spend a lot of his time. When she opened it, she found that he had written his life story.... with a secret that started in the 1940s.
A Double Life As A Spy
Never in her wildest dreams could Audrey have imagined that the very same man she had shared a bed with for nearly 70 years, was actually a British spy working against the Germans. The documents showed he had become a spy when he was pulled out of school in 1944 because of his photographic memory and began to work for Operation XX.
The operation, otherwise known as the Double-Cross System, was a counter-espionage and deception project which saw Nazi agents captured in Britain being used to send misinformation back to Germany.
Never Knew Her Husband At All
At the time Audrey had already become a great-grandmother of three. She had built an entire legacy with this man and said she was "astonished" to read about his life before he died from Parkinson's in January 2015.
She said: "I was completely oblivious. I have so many questions now that will probably never get answered. Why did I not know?"
The Mysterious Trips Solved
Finally, Audrey put the pieces together of where her husband kept disappearing all those years ago. He had written in detail the stories of the training he underwent which involved him having to crawl through concrete pipes 18 inches wide to talk to German POWs.
It turns out that he was recruited by an MI5 captain and continued working in espionage after WWII for most of his adult life, and only his father knew. He was pulled out of school for it when he was just 20 years old, along with other teenagers, and never got to pull out.
The Memory Lives On In A Book
Audrey, who was a retired home economics teacher knew she couldn't just let this information go to waste. This was bigger than her husband's life...it was history! She decided to honor his memory in a now published book of her husband's memoirs titled "Operation XX And Me: Did I Have A Choice?"
It turns out that Glyndwr had kept records of his every move right there the whole time. Being recruited by the security agency for the secretive operation, he couldn't tell his wife even if he wanted to. Audrey explains: "He kept the papers in a drawer at home, and occasionally would get them out to top up his writing, but he never invited me to read them, so I never did.
It took me three years after he died to read them and I was absolutely astonished."
"Do I Have A Choice?"
Unfortunately for Glyndwr, it seemed like his involvement as a spy was never up to him. His writing explains that they were looking for someone who was interested in horses, small for his age and had a photographic memory and he fit the description.
He was made to train two afternoons a week, learn self-defense, and even had to learn to crawl backward through a concrete pipe. A mysterious "Captain" would appear to him throughout his life to set him with life-threatening missions to which Glyndwr recalls answering "Do I have a choice?"
You Always Have A Choice
Even though he lied to her, Audrey understood it was to keep her safe. From his writing, she could tell that he was a product of circumstance and never got to choose the double life that he led.
Now, she tells his story to their children and grandchildren, and to the whole world to let them know the hero he was. At the end of the day, we may all get dealt cards we feel like we can't handle or have no choice over, but just like Glyndwr made the best of it by choosing his wife, and living a happy life as a father, we all have a choice in how we live with these circumstances.
Make Your Choice
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